The second stage is in my book for sprinters. But which sprinters? We have 2625 climbing meters which is quite a lot. Most of the climbs are in the first 60 km. We have three climbs there and I think a few riders want to get up the road. Jumbo-Visma will likely control it to make sure it is not too big.
The early climbs can be seen below. Almost 150 km from the finish.
The riders are going from the North towards the South most of the day with a little loop around Viana.
A quite tricky finale. Roundabout with 750 meters left, a right turn with 500 meters left, a left turn with 300 meters left and the last right turn comes with 250 meters left. We have a short hill (900m at 5.7%) starting with 4.25 km left. Enough for a solo win? The last 300 meters are slightly uphill, but for the sprinters.
The last 10 km below.
The last five km below.
A day with almost no wind. It is not too hot in Basque Country at the moment, but just above 10 degrees C tomorrow, and no sight of rain. That means no echelons and no wet descends.
How will the stage unfold?
So who wants to control? We have no clear favorite in a sprint. Vendrame or Aular or probably the closest we come to pure sprinters here, but I would be very surprised if they want to control things.
What about Jumbo-Visma? They had the jersey last year after the first stage, but stage 2 was more difficult there. The last categorized climb is 3% on average. Not hard enough to put any pressure on anyone in the GC. They do not want to lose the jersey.
I think the most likely scenario is a GC sprint or a late attack.
Roglic is normally racing every race to win. Given the fact it could come down to a GC sprint, Roglic will take any bonus seconds he can.
Alaphilippe did not have the best TT today. Still three weeks to LBL. He is fast, but I think there are faster riders here in a flat sprint.
Evenepoel – can he keep his nerve? He will likely try something
Higuita is another fast rider. Lost a lot of time against the clock. I do not think I have ever seen him in better shape – he will be very difficult to beat in a sprint.
Vendrame is probably the fastest here. It is just not often he wins. He is in good form, GP Industria and GP Miguel Indurain proved that. I think he will start as the favorite tomorrow.
Aular is the second sprinter here. He did well in the first stage in Gran Camino, but against this competition, I doubt he can win.
Kämna – late attack #1. Form was good in Ruta del Sol, but DNF in GP Miguel Indurain.
Cavagna – late attack #2. Good performance today, not a GC contender.
Armirail – late attack #3. Decent TT, must have recovered from illness.
Soler – late attack #4. Soler with multiple options.
Who will win?
I think we will see a lot of attacks in the finale. Being good on hills and having a good TT is optimal. I might be a long shot, but Cavagna could take the win and the jersey. It will also mean Jumbo-Visma does not need to control stage 3. I will take a win for the Frenchman.